During the fall semester of 2019, Maya Figliuolo ’21, a student from Hamilton College, took dance classes in the historic neighborhood of the Marais. She describes her experience for us.
Prior to the beginning of my semester abroad with Hamilton in France, I looked forward to finding an outlet that would allow me to unwind during this time that promised to be filled with excitement, and perhaps a little more fast paced than life on the Hill. Thanks to Hamilton’s partnership with the Centre de Danse du Marais, I was able to continue my habit of dedicating one out of four courses to taking a more artistic kind of class. The Centre de Danse du Marais offers an unimaginable variety of dance courses: from Martha Graham-style Contemporary Dance to Rock N’ Roll to Argentinian Tango to Burlesque, and so much more. I, however, settled for Flamenco and Ragga/Dancehall to fulfill an entire academic credit. My professors, Patricio and Mickael, offered a perfect balance between discipline and entertainment, making their classes a serious study of the dance type in question, as well as a time to de-stress and evolve as a dancer without fear of being judged.
My dance classes allowed me to take time out of my schedule to exercise my mind, body, and spirit, find a sense of community and meet friends outside of my university classes, and become acquainted with the Marais, the iconic Parisian neighborhood in which the dance center is located. I also had the opportunity to spend quality time with other students from the program, as I had friends from HiF in both of my dance classes. For instance, my friend Oriana and I would often meet up prior to our Flamenco class to catch up over coffee, or would leave class together to grab dinner, which ultimately also helped us truly get acquainted with the neighborhood.